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  1. #1

    Language in American Schools

    Should American schools start teaching a foreign language (let's say Spanish) starting in late elementary school (3rd or 4th grade) and finish Spanish in 8th grade, and then when students' get to high school (9th-12th grade) they start a second foreign language of their own choice (Schools would be required to teach 2 foreign languages other than Spanish, so that the student wouldn't be forced to take Spanish again, unless they wanted to continue it, of course). I've noticed that some (many?) European school systems do this, and was wondering what everyone's opinion on the matter was.

    I personally think it would be a nice addition to the American Education system, learning more language is something I agree with, especially as a monolingual American (who's stuck in Spanish and hates it, but that's all my school offers, would have taken German or Russian otherwise).

    So, comments, thoughts, opinions, etc away! What do you think?

    Updated
    Last edited by Hastings; 2012-11-14 at 04:20 AM.
    "Then we have found, as it seems, that the many beliefs of the many about what's fair and about the other things roll around somewhere between not-being and being purely and simply." - Plato: Republic

  2. #2
    Well, some of the options we've got aren't as relevant in the US as they are to us living in the midst of all these silly languages. But Spanish does indeed seem relevant enough to warrant some wasted school hours.


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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Everything Nice View Post
    Well, some of the options we've got aren't as relevant in the US as they are to us living in the midst of all these silly languages. But Spanish does indeed seem relevant enough to warrant some wasted school hours.
    Well yeah, I agree with making Spanish the de-facto foreign language that we're forced to learn first. But I would like the opportunity to learn a second one of my choice (provided it's taught by the school) while still in school. (Also, because I really really dislike Spanish)
    "Then we have found, as it seems, that the many beliefs of the many about what's fair and about the other things roll around somewhere between not-being and being purely and simply." - Plato: Republic

  4. #4
    It's not a bad thought, though I think if kids are going to be forced to learn a language it should be one that is widely spoken in the business world.
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  5. #5
    Pandaren Monk Silhouette of Seraphim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hastings95 View Post
    Should American schools start teaching a foreign language (let's say Spanish) starting in middle school (or even elementary), and then when students' get to high school they start a second foreign language of their own choice (Schools would be required to teach 2 foreign languages other than Spanish, so that the student wouldn't be forced to take Spanish again, unless they wanted to continue it, of course). I've noticed that some (many?) European school systems do this, and was wondering what everyone's opinion on the matter was.

    I personally think it would be a nice addition to the American Education system, learning more language is something I agree with, especially as a monolingual American (who's stuck in Spanish and hates it, but that's all my school offers, would have taken German or Russian otherwise).

    So, comments, thoughts, opinions, etc away! What do you think?
    They do that already. At least where I went to school. From Middle-High school you could choose Spanish or French. I think in the later years you can take Italian or German as well. I spent my high school years in a tech school where none of that nonsense was required so I don't quite remember what the curriculum was exactly in the standard schools, but it was something like that.

    However, there was little interest in actually doing it among the vast majority of the students. Once we got to conjugating verbs it was nap time.
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  6. #6
    Epic! Neganova's Avatar
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    As an American high school student currently enrolled in (only) Spanish IV, I'm all for it, as long as it doesn't interfere nor take away from the STEM curriculum. STEM classes, I believe, must absolutely come first.
    Last edited by Neganova; 2012-11-14 at 04:24 AM.
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  7. #7
    I think it'd be highly useful, but a bit overrated. English is a language of commerce and science through most first world countries.
    Last edited by Spectral; 2012-11-14 at 04:20 AM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Silhouette of Seraphim View Post
    They do that already. At least where I went to school. From Middle-High school you could choose Spanish or French. I think in the later years you can take Italian or German as well. I spent my high school years in a tech school where none of that nonsense was required so I don't quite remember what the curriculum was exactly in the standard schools, but it was something like that.

    However, there was little interest in actually doing it among the vast majority of the students. Once we got to conjugating verbs it was nap time.
    So maybe start Spanish late elementary school (3rd or 4th grade), and finish it 8th grade (End of Junior High or Middle School depending on what system your district uses). And then 9th through 12th you start a new language.
    "Then we have found, as it seems, that the many beliefs of the many about what's fair and about the other things roll around somewhere between not-being and being purely and simply." - Plato: Republic

  9. #9
    it's already that way?
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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Tuskcat View Post
    it's already that way?
    Yeah, I think I mis-labeled it in my original post, let me edit it and update it real quick.

    Updated post as of now.
    "Then we have found, as it seems, that the many beliefs of the many about what's fair and about the other things roll around somewhere between not-being and being purely and simply." - Plato: Republic

  11. #11
    At my school, it was either Spanish or German, and you had to take one or the other in order to graduate if you didn't go to the county's career center for junior/senior years, but they still had different languages you could take if you wanted to.
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  12. #12
    Epic! Neganova's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hastings95 View Post
    So maybe start Spanish late elementary school (3rd or 4th grade), and finish it 8th grade (End of Junior High or Middle School depending on what system your district uses). And then 9th through 12th you start a new language.
    To me, it doesn't make much sense to abandon the language after 8th grade. Mastery over a foreign language and the ability to communicate easily with native speakers of said language (what I presume to be the underlying goal of your suggested program) would typically take some time longer. Abandoning the language after 8th grade seems to be a bit like what learning so much about Texas history throughout elementary and junior school was for me - relatively pointless, in the grand scheme.
    Quote Originally Posted by Crazia View Post
    Your mom is so fat shes the reason blizzard made a limit on mage food.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rucati View Post
    If words bother you that much perhaps you should try being amish so you can avoid them.

  13. #13
    This idea's implementation would be fought heavily. Republicans would scream about "indoctrination" "socialism" "brainwashing" "think of the children" ect ect ect. There would also be screams about the US turning into Mexico. Arguments would involve things like "The Mexicanization of America begins" "Omg Now they want to teach our kids spanish, we're being taken over by Mexico" ect. If it's not spanish but some other language simply replace Mexico with another country that speaks said language.

    The Democrats on the other hands while seemingly supportive of the idea would not care enough to implement it. Also there is no money to be made in this idea therefore there is no incentive for any politician to push for it.

    Despite that I think it's a fairly good idea personally.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Neganova View Post
    To me, it doesn't make much sense to abandon the language after 8th grade. Mastery over a foreign language and the ability to communicate easily with native speakers of said language (what I presume to be the underlying goal of your suggested program) would typically take some time longer. Abandoning the language after 8th grade seems to be a bit like what learning so much about Texas history throughout elementary and junior school was for me - relatively pointless, in the grand scheme.
    Well, perhaps they could do something where instead of having English class 5 times a week, you have M/W/F be English and Tues/Thurs be Spanish, so that you could still practice Spanish, learn proper English grammar fun stuff, and learn the new language.

    And at the same time, keep the rest of the classes unchanged.
    "Then we have found, as it seems, that the many beliefs of the many about what's fair and about the other things roll around somewhere between not-being and being purely and simply." - Plato: Republic

  15. #15
    In my school system you can pick from French, Spanish or Chinese in 6th and 7th grade. In 8th grade you can either continue your language or switch to Japanese, Hebrew, German, or Latin (I feel like I'm missing a few but oh well). Sixth seventh and eighth are the only years that language is required, after that it is optional and you can take more than one if you have room in your schedule. However, language is required for higher level diplomas. I think three high school years in one language or two years each in two different languages are required for my schools honors diploma while four years of the same language is required for the International Baccalaureate. I personally like this system and wouldn't like the one you suggested because it makes an introduction to a language mandatory but after a certain amount of time the requirement is lifted. It makes it where if a kid is like me they can drop it. I was that dumb ass that took French in middle school. I continued it for three years in high school and promptly dropped the shit out of it as soon as I had the chance. The contrary is true as well. If you're really passionate about your language you can continue it as well as picking up another if that is what you're interested in. For instance lets say that I really like learning languages, this year I could potentially be taking four languages because I have most of my requirements done in other subjects. This is a public school by the way.

  16. #16
    They'd be much better off with Chinese. I took Chinese from middle school to HS graduation and I think it was the best thing I ever did. Took Spanish from Grade 1-6, but it never stuck with me.

    But yea, they should start teaching another language from an early age. Are they not?
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  17. #17
    With the Chinese expected to be the most dominant country in the next 30-50 years economically

    being able to speak mandarin would be a very big boost for students to learn to take advantage of

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Onemanwolfpack View Post
    In my school system you can pick from French, Spanish or Chinese in 6th and 7th grade. In 8th grade you can either continue your language or switch to Japanese, Hebrew, German, or Latin (I feel like I'm missing a few but oh well). Sixth seventh and eighth are the only years that language is required, after that it is optional and you can take more than one if you have room in your schedule. However, language is required for higher level diplomas. I think three high school years in one language or two years each in two different languages are required for my schools honors diploma while four years of the same language is required for the International Baccalaureate. I personally like this system and wouldn't like the one you suggested because it makes an introduction to a language mandatory but after a certain amount of time the requirement is lifted. It makes it where if a kid is like me they can drop it. I was that dumb ass that took French in middle school. I continued it for three years in high school and promptly dropped the shit out of it as soon as I had the chance. The contrary is true as well. If you're really passionate about your language you can continue it as well as picking up another if that is what you're interested in. For instance lets say that I really like learning languages, this year I could potentially be taking four languages because I have most of my requirements done in other subjects. This is a public school by the way.
    That sounds fairly awesome, but that's not in the U.S. right? I personally, if it was a language other than Spanish, would take it as many years as it was available, but that's just my own not-liking Spanish. But yeah, I get what you see about not lifting the requirement for something since many people would probably drop it.
    "Then we have found, as it seems, that the many beliefs of the many about what's fair and about the other things roll around somewhere between not-being and being purely and simply." - Plato: Republic

  19. #19
    Legendary! vindicatorx's Avatar
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    Well I was in a special program and we learned Russian in 3rd grade and started Spanish in 4th grade it was just simple stuff like counting and common phrases but still was pretty neat.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Hastings95 View Post
    That sounds fairly awesome, but that's not in the U.S. right? I personally, if it was a language other than Spanish, would take it as many years as it was available, but that's just my own not-liking Spanish. But yeah, I get what you see about not lifting the requirement for something since many people would probably drop it.
    No it is in the US, Indiana

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